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YOGA Year 7 Issue 10

October 2018
Membership postage: Rs. 100

Bihar School of Yoga, Munger, Bihar, India

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Hari Om
YOGA is compiled, composed
and published by the sannyasin
disciples of Swami Satyananda
Saraswati for the benefit of all
people who seek health, happiness
and enlightenment. It contains in-
formation about the activities of
Bihar School of Yoga, Bihar Yoga
Bharati, Yoga Publications Trust
and Yoga Research Fellowship.
Editor: Swami Gyansiddhi Saraswati
Assistant Editor: Swami Yogatirth- GUIDELINES FOR SPIRITUAL LIFE
ananda Saraswati
YOGA is a monthly magazine. Late Life has become complex these days.
subscriptions include issues from
January to December. Therefore, a great deal of continuous
mental and physical strain is imposed
Published by Bihar School of Yoga,
Ganga Darshan, Fort, Munger, Bihar on modern humanity by its deadening
– 811201. daily work and unhealthy mode of life.
Printed at Thomson Press India Man has acquired many artificial habits
Ltd., Haryana – 121007 and has allowed nature’s original habits
© Bihar School of Yoga 2018 to lapse. He has forgotten the first
principles of relaxation. He will have
Membership is held on a yearly
basis. Please send your requests to learn lessons from the cat, dog and
for application and all correspond- the infant in the science of relaxation.
ence to:
Chanting of mantras generate potent
Bihar School of Yoga
Ganga Darshan spiritual waves or divine vibrations.
Fort, Munger, 811201 They penetrate the physical and astral
Bihar, India bodies of the patients and remove
- A self-addressed, stamped envelope the root causes of sufferings. They fill
must be sent along with enquiries to en- the cells with pure sattwa or divine
sure a response to your request
energy. They destroy the microbes
and vivify the cells and tissues. They
Total no. of pages: 58 (including cover pages)
are best, most potent antiseptics and
germicides. They are more potent than
Front cover: Sri Swami Niranjanananda
Plates: 1: Yogic Studies (Hindi) Graduation;
ultraviolet rays or Röntgen rays.
2–3: 2018 Bharat Yoga Yatra – Kolkata
4: 2018 Bharat Yoga Yatra – Indore (a), —Swami Sivananda Saraswati
Rajnandgaon (b)

Published and printed by Swami Gyanbhikshu Saraswati on behalf of Bihar School of Yoga,
Ganga Darshan, Fort, Munger – 811201, Bihar
Printed at Thomson Press India (Ltd), 18/35 Milestone, Delhi Mathura Rd., Faridabad, Haryana.
Owned by Bihar School of Yoga Editor: Swami Gyansiddhi Saraswati

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YOGA Year 7 Issue 10 • October 2018
(56th year of publication)

Contents
4 Digital Fasting 33 Independent Again
6 Creativity in Action 39 Ashram Life
9 Awareness and Karma Yoga 41 Ashram Academics
19 My Beginnings in Yoga 44 Sadhana of Swadyaya
21 Satsang on Heart Disease 46 Dharma
26 Yoga Changed My Life 50 Sanatana Dharma

The Yogi is superior to the ascetic. He is deemed superior even to those versed in sacred
lore. The Yogi is superior even to those who perform action with some motive. Therefore,
Arjuna, do you become a Yogi. (Bhagavad Gita VI:46)
¦ã¹ããäÔÌã¼¾ããñçãä£ã‡ãŠãñ ¾ããñØããè —ãããä¶ã¼¾ããñçãä¹ã ½ã¦ããñãä£ã‡ãŠ: ý ‡ãŠãä½ãü¾ãÍÞãããä£ã‡ãŠãñ ¾ããñØããè ¦ãÔ½ãã²ããñØããèè ¼ãÌãã•ãìöã ýý

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Digital Fasting
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Let me tell you a story. A man,


Mr X, calls his friend, Mr Y,
early one morning by phone
and there is no answer. So Mr
X keeps trying to contact Mr Y
by calling him many times for
the next few hours, but still the
phone remains unanswered.
Mr X begins to worry think-
ing something bad has happen-
ed. So he sends messages – no
answer. WhatsApp – no
answer. Email – no answer. Twitter – no answer. Instagram –
no answer. Now Mr X really becomes worried. He begins to
dread that something awful has happened.
So in the evening he decides to go to his friend’s house
to find out what happened. Around four o’clock, he walks
into his friend’s house, and there he sees his friend sitting in
the garden in his lawn chair with a nice cup of steaming tea,
reading a book, totally relaxed and happy.
Now Mr X, who has been sending messages and making
phone calls is really furious. He says, “I have been trying
to contact you since morning, and you have not answered
anything. None of my calls have been answered, none of my
messages have been answered. Are you ill? Are you sick?” Mr
Y says, “No. I’m perfectly healthy. I’m just enjoying my life.
Today I’m fasting.” Mr X becomes quite irritated. He says,
“Fasting is related with food. You may not have eaten, I can
understand that, but you can at least answer the phone.”
Mr Y smiles and says, “Listen, today is my fasting day. It
means fasting from digital consumption. Today I don’t touch

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my phone. Today I don’t look at my messages. Today I don’t
look at the social media. Today I don’t look at my account.
Today I just put the phone aside and become myself. I take
up a book which I want to read, and read it. I spend time with
my family, laughing, playing, going out to places with them;
I am not just caught up looking at my phone.”
We have become so dependent and weak that we cannot
live without a digital input for more than a few minutes
to couple of hours. Can we break that pattern and become
contained in ourselves? Instead of dissipating the energies
outside, can we retain the energy and go through a process of
self-awareness, self-discovery? Can we connect with the sense
of happiness that is our internal feeling?
—1 January 2018, Ganga Darshan, Munger

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Creativity in Action
From Head, Heart & Hands, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Your actions should be guided by


the creative principles; they must
become creative. Creativity is the
beginning of attaining the positive
qualities of hands. This is where the
concept of karma yoga comes in.
Perform actions, whether physical
or mental, psychological or spiritual,
do whatever you need to, but do not
expect anything from your actions.
Don’t look at the outcome. Try to do
your best and develop immunity to the
responses of the behaviour or action.

Elation of non-expectation
When I first came to the ashram as a six-year-old boy, whenever
Sri Swamiji would ask me to do something, I would run to finish
the job and then go back to him. He would only ask, “Completed
the job?” I would say, “Yes, Swamiji.” He would never say,
“Very good.” He would say, “Okay, this is the next job.”
Much later, when I was older, I realized that after completing
a job, my expectation was to receive a pat on the back. That was
my expectation and I never received it. What I am indicating
is that even with guru, there is expectation. When you work in
society, there is of course expectation of money, recognition,
name and fame, which is an even worse condition. But even
with guru, when one is asked to do something, one may do it
to the best of one’s capability, but at the back of the mind the
idea is, “I hope Swamiji appreciates what I have done.” That
was my expectation too. “I hope he likes it. I hope he will pat
me on the back and say, ‘Niranjan you did very well.’” But it

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never happened. When I realized that this was my expectation,
I became very alert. I said to myself, “Hey, I’m expecting this.
This is the result that I’m seeking from my karma. Not good.”
The day I stopped thinking about it was the first time that Sri
Swamiji patted me on the back.
Even in the life of a disciple, there is expectation. It applies
to all of you, yet you give lectures saying, “Don’t expect
anything.” You have expectations, yet you lecture everybody
on non-expectation, because that is what is said in the Bhagavad
Gita, this is what says Swami Sivananda, this is what says
Swami Satyananda. Despite saying all that, deep inside, the
need, the desire for results exists. Even swamis don’t perfect
karma yoga. I did not perfect karma yoga until I realized that
I have certain expectations from my guru.

Transcending boredom
The law of improving your karma is that you do not identify
with what you do, yet you give it your best shot, your full
creativity. In my life as a sannyasin I have often lived a routine
life, but I was never bored in any routine, but I see other people
getting bored and fed up. “I have to go to the same office every
morning, see the same people, face the same problems . . .” all
these thoughts come. “The same job, the same table, the same
boring work, writing vouchers and receipts day in and day out.”
You get bored. When boredom sets in, creativity stops. When
boredom sets in, mind management stops.
I have never been bored because right from the beginning
I was very aware of a sutra that my guru gave to me to perfect
yoga and I followed it. He said, “Think of everything that you
do as if you are doing it for the first and last time in your life.
Think of every day as the first and last day of your life.” Even
as a child I used to think every day, “This is my first day in this
life and whatever I do, I’m going to do with utmost perfection.”
Many times I had to draft letters or do other such routine work
necessary in the ashram, but I developed a pattern of thinking
which I carry even today, “Today is the first day of your life.

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Therefore, live it well, live it happily and with total creativity.”
That is why even if I had to draft the same letter twenty times, I
never got bored. Each draft for me was the first and the last one. I
never got bored with any work, whether it was cleaning, classes,
administration, working for Sri Swamiji or independently. This
attitude also allowed me to put all my efforts towards doing the
right thing in the proper and perfect way.

Developing a new perspective on performance


Karma yoga is actually an attitudinal change of how you look
at situations, events and performance. When you are able to
truly practise karma yoga, there is no dissatisfaction in life.
What will dissatisfy you if everything is being done for the
first time and you have given your full input to it? There is no
question of dissatisfaction in this case.
Dissatisfaction is experienced when you feel that you
have not done enough. Why did you not do enough in the
first place? Either because you did not understand the work
or you were lazy. Therefore, creativity is the trademark of the
faculty of hands. To become creative, initially you have to
make a conscious effort. Creativity cannot be achieved without
conscious effort. However, such effort is required only for a
certain period of time until you become conditioned in the
new mentality. Once an attitudinal change comes about, you
develop a new perspective on your performances in life.
—12 October 2010, Ganga Darshan, Munger

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Awareness and Karma Yoga
From Yoga from Shore to Shore, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

By the word ‘awareness’, I mean the


act of becoming aware of one’s self.
By increasing awareness, through
meditation and with a one-pointed
mind, you can travel deeper and deeper
into the regions of your psyche until
you reach the point of enlightenment.

Enlightenment
What exactly is meant by the terms of
enlightenment and awareness? There
is awareness of the outside world; we
hear sounds, understand things and our senses are capable of
cognition. In sleep there is unawareness. At the most, if you try
to concentrate and unify the tendencies of your mind in sleep
you become aware of dreams and visions, but there is another
awareness – an awareness of our innermost individuality. You
are aware of the body; you are aware of thoughts; you are
aware of your dreams, delusions and imaginations, but have
you ever had a glimpse of an awareness different from these?
To have an awareness beyond the body and mind awareness –
this awareness is enlightenment. Or, in the language of the
Upanishads, to be able to realize, understand, visualize the
immortal personality in man, that which doesn’t undergo
death and decay, this is enlightenment.
This enlightenment is misunderstood by many. During
meditation light flashes may appear, we may lose body
consciousness, we may have beautiful scenes and experiences
revealed to us and, in our ignorance, we think these experiences
are enlightenment, but these experiences are only a process we
have to experience as progress is being made in our meditation.

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During the ultimate process of enlightenment, what
happens? How does one feel? Unless one has attained en-
lightenment, one has no conception about it. Even he who
has attained enlightenment is unable to express it because it is
purely a matter of self-experience. Unless you have a tongue
to taste, it is impossible to convey to you through the ears the
exact nature of sweetness, but still there are aspirants who
insist on being told!

Meditation
Meditation begins at the point of pratyahara. Pratyahara is
the fifth step of raja yoga, and literally means ‘withdrawal
of consciousness’ or transcendence of the outer world and
outer experiences. The experiences of smell, the experience of
auditory perception, the tactile consciousness – all these are
experienced through the medium of the senses. In meditation
the mind can be withdrawn and disconnected from these
mediums. The mind sees, the mind experiences and the mind
cognizes through the different centres of the body, but when
outer awareness is withdrawn, the body is there but does not
feel. This stage is often believed by spiritual aspirants to be
a very exalted state, but actually it is only the beginning, the
first stage of pratyahara.
During the process of transcending the external world,
visions and subjective perceptions are experienced. Sometimes
they are mistaken for telepathic communications. These visions
and dreams are due to the depth of the concentration, and
they are symbols of the deeper personality. They manifest
as the consciousness becomes subtler and subtler. When
you walk through the market, you see different shops to the
left and right, and it is an ever-changing scene. In the same
manner, in meditation the mind experiences various things,
changing scenes from within. It means that the mind is passing
through the different planes of consciousness: the conscious,
subconscious and unconscious. Different layers, depths and
heights are experienced. The experience may be of the astral

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plane, or it may come from a previous incarnation or from your
present life. Sometimes, the consciousness develops forms and
images of angels and demons, or perhaps the nature, character,
tendency or personality of the meditator will symbolize itself in
the form of hills, jungles, men or women, in beautiful or ugly
forms, or otherwise. All this may happen during the deeper
stages of meditation, but they are only distractions and must
be discarded. Distractions may come from within or without,
and they must come under your control. To remove these
distractions, these images, these symbols from within, one
must develop an unconscious willpower. A strong willpower
in the conscious life, external life, will not help you here. One
who has taken to the path of meditation will have to develop
the unconscious will.
The faculty of conscious will allows us to be rid of the
distractions and dissipations of the conscious state. If distracting
thoughts enter my mind during meditation when I have not
yet transcended outer consciousness, it will be the conscious
will which eliminates them, but when I am deep in meditation,
having lost contact with external consciousness, I am in the
land of visions; I require only one object of concentration. Here,

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I need unconscious will in order to remove all the distractions
from the spiritual path or from the path of meditation.
The unconscious will is developed by the use of a mala
during the practice of meditation. The mala is moved from
one end to the other and then the direction is reversed back
to the starting point. One never crosses one bead, the sumeru,
and so systematically the meditation is broken from time to
time. The secret of this unconscious will is that the meditation
is broken like this, periodically.
This might appear a novel method, but according to the
guru tradition it is said that a beginner’s meditation should
be broken so that he can develop his unconscious will and
remove himself from any plane he doesn’t wish to be in, as in
the land of dreams, or so that he can correct his meditation.
You may have to break your meditation twice, thrice, four
or five times. Many believe meditation should be continuous,
unbroken, but I say it should have breaks until the form of
meditation becomes constant and begins to shine in the inner
space of your awareness.

Distractions
In meditation your consciousness may become suspended;
there is awareness of a time, but periodically it is overcome
by a momentary void. Also one may experience telepathic
communication and foreknowledge of things to come. These
are obstacles or disturbances to meditation and these types
of distractions are difficult to avoid. Many spiritual aspirants
become lost in the snares. They become psychic and begin
to practice psychic arts or spiritual healing, or they become
telepathic mediums. These things are considered great
achievements, but yogically speaking they are the downfall of
spiritual life. The practitioners of these arts go on an offshoot
away from the object of meditation, for one can either possess
siddhis or enlightenment, but not both.
Therefore, on the path of meditation there are three types
of distractions: distractions on the conscious plane in the

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form of thoughts and external
things, distractions on the astral
plane in the form of visions,
and distractions in a higher
plane in the form of psychic
knowledge and psychic events.
The first type of distraction is
quite easy to tackle; the second
type can be removed with the
unconscious will; but when
psychic knowledge dawns
and you become aware of new
things in the deeper stages of
meditation, progress becomes
very difficult and many spiritual
aspirants cannot go further.
In deep meditation when one has foreknowledge that such
and such an event is going to happen, naturally meditation is
broken, or even out of meditation one might feel that something
is going to take place; one becomes so psychic. This is an
achievement in itself, but so far as meditation is concerned
it is a distraction, a setback and it must be removed from the
path of spiritual life.
To succeed here one has to be very careful. One must
shun these psychic powers right from the beginning. The
aspirant must put himself on the path of karma yoga, and
do duties, physical, mental and intellectual. If he does karma
yoga the spiritual power generated through meditation can
be practically channelled, for this extra spiritual power,
responsible for these psychic powers, must be properly utilized
and directed. The Bhagavad Gita says that spiritual aspirants
must devote all their time to the performance of duty through
karma yoga. The meditator should never shun the active life.
So, in order to avoid the distractions of the third type, it is
necessary that one has some outlet for the expression of the
current of spiritual power.

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Only then is it possible for the aspirant to experience
enlightenment as spoken of by Buddha, Christ, Mohammed
and many other people. When you find yourself approaching
this point of enlightenment it is something very wonderful.
Consciousness remains intact, you have not lost touch with
yourself, and yet at the same time you are not aware of the
outer universe. You feel all throughout that you are awake,
you are actually awake.

Indescribable experience
The experience of enlightenment, as I have said before, is
indescribable. It is a point of consciousness where the world
is lost for the time being, but the inner consciousness remains
intact and nothing of the inner light is lost. Enlightenment is a
process in the beginning, it is not a final state because the area
of enlightenment is too vast. Beginning from self-awareness it
is a process of ascendance; it is not a process of descension. It
keeps on ascending and you feel the awareness growing within
you. Awareness becomes more and more intense. You can feel
this awareness as you can feel the forms of the world. Just as
we see men and women around us, in the same manner this
awareness is felt. It is not so much an expansion of awareness
as a realization of awareness. It is like this. We can be aware
that an electric current is flowing through a wire, but that is
not the same as if I happen to touch the wire, for then I will
experience the electric current directly.
Knowledge and experience, knowledge and realization,
they are two entirely different things. This is acutely realized
in enlightenment. During the process of enlightenment,
awareness becomes more and more prominent, and in the state
of enlightenment the awareness experienced by you is at such
a height or at such a depth that you can actually feel it. In that
process of enlightenment, the ignorance, the distractions, the
impurities, the difficulties and the doubts of life are completely
rent asunder, and it is then that revelation starts. Revelation
means an inner knowledge that manifests. The spiritual being,

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or the spiritual reality within, comes to prominence. Then one
realizes it was not the speech, it was not the mind, it was not
the lower body that was functioning in my life, but it was the
lower spiritual person and reality.
Beyond the body there is the mind and beyond the mental
personality there is the higher spiritual personality. It is always
operating, it is always there, it is never absent in us, but it is we
who are unaware of it. We are breathing all the twenty-four
hours, but we are unaware of it. Our heart is beating, but we
are unconscious of the fact. There are many processes in the
body and in the mind, and there are various events in your own
life about which you are always unconscious. It is because we
are so extroverted that we do not know what is taking place
inside us. Similarly, there is this higher awareness in us that
we can develop consciousness of, not through the intellect,
but only by experience.
I shall illustrate this point with an experience of Ramana
Maharshi. One day he felt that he was dying. He lay down on
the floor and saw himself split into two. He then saw himself
lying there as objectively as you see me now and I see you. It
is possible for us to become aware of our spiritual personality
in that manner, but it is rare, and for most of us, awareness of
the existence of the body, of the mind and of the higher self is
absolutely absent. Just think for a moment: right through from
morning to night how long are you aware of your existence?
I mean physical existence, not spiritual existence.

Exhaust your karmas


We haven’t the time to be aware, or rather we are just not aware
and therefore we cannot be aware of our physical existence
all the time. If we were, the tempo of day-to-day life would
be disturbed, but it is possible, and just as you can develop
awareness of the body, similarly you can have awareness of
your thought process. But can you become aware of the spirit,
atman, at will? No, and yet this is the one thing it is really
important to be aware of – the immortal Purusha, the part

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of you which doesn’t die. This man dies, the body; the other
man also dies, the mind, but that third man, the immortal self,
does not die.
It has no form and experience of it cannot be communicated,
but nevertheless it can be experienced. The saints have given it
three names: sat, chit and ananda. Sat means ‘existence’, ‘pure
existence’, chit means ‘consciousness’ and ananda means ‘bliss’.
These are the three attributes common to all experience of this
Purusha, this underlying consciousness. The Upanishads say
this Purusha is of a golden colour and somewhere it is said it
is luminous, but whatever it may be, it is hard to know. My
only request to all spiritual aspirants is to be constantly aware,
aware of the spiritual self beyond the body and the mind.
Enlightenment is a difficult topic to speak about and I
have been trying for years to clarify my understanding of it.
At the age of six, my spiritual life began with an experience.
I was outside my body and I was able to see the body, but I
could not feel it, and there was an awareness of a different
type from the body and mind awareness. I had been trying
for many years to experience
that state again, but I did not
succeed. When I first met
Swami Sivananda in 1943 he
just gave me one small key – he
said, “Exhaust your karmas.”
The sadhaka must reduce the
weight, the grossness of karma.
In your awareness there are
layers and layers of grossness:
impressions, dirt, distractions,
vasanas, the hidden desires,
and many, many other things.
All these karmas should be
exhausted. The exhaustion of
karma is an important sadhana
in the process of enlightenment.

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If you exhaust your karmas,
then surely experience in
meditation will give positive
rewards, but karma cannot be
exhausted by karmas. Every
karma brings a new impres-
sion, so in order to exhaust
them, you will have to do
karma yoga and not karma.
What is the difference between
the karma and karma yoga?
Karma yoga is an impersonal
karma without attachment.
Karma is karma with absolute
attachment. Karma creates
anxiety and neurosis, whereas
karma yoga never does. Karma
gives rise to exhaustion, but karma yoga brings satisfaction.
Karma yoga means selfless dedication and karma means
selfishness. In karma everything is for myself and in karma
yoga everything is for yourself. These are the distinctions
between karma and karma yoga. By karma you add to your
karma and your destiny becomes more and more gross. By
karma yoga your personality becomes purer and purer, day
by day until you experience unbroken peace of mind.
There is only one enlightenment; there is no incorrect
enlightenment. Once enlightenment is achieved there is no
more darkness in life, there is no ignorance. The light is very
clear and the light is very quiet. There is tranquillity, there is no
tension and everything is full of bliss. Discrimination between
real and unreal is revealed during the process of enlightenment.
Everyone can see that he who is enlightened has the light, he
doesn’t have to prove it, it is patent.
Enlightenment is the ultimate aim of human life. It is for
enlightenment that everyone is born and takes on physical
existence. This is the pinnacle of human effort and human

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accomplishment. It may be called enlightenment, nirvana,
darshan, samadhi or kaivalya, but it is all the same. In all cases,
to fulfil this life task, it takes a combined effort of karma yoga,
bhakti yoga, jnana yoga and raja yoga. Raja yoga is difficult,
simpler is bhakti yoga and much simpler than these is karma
yoga. Karma yoga may be the simplest, but that does not
mean you should only do karma yoga. No, you must practice
a synthesis of these three: karma yoga, bhakti yoga and raja
yoga.
Meditation must be combined with karma yoga. If you
meditate for three hours, then you must work for ten hours,
and if you meditate for six hours then you must do eighteen
hours work. It is like this: if you have so much vegetable, there
must be this much salt; vegetables and salt are never in an
equal quantity. Meditation is the salt of life, but karma yoga
is the method or the vegetables. Never be lazy in the name
of the spiritual path. Meditation combined with karma yoga
brings about that awareness which is easily visible in the life
of a man in his action, in his behaviour, in his thinking and in
his contribution to society and towards himself.
—1968, Tokyo University, Japan

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My Beginnings in Yoga
Mantraratna, Serbia

Life brought me to Malta in 2001.


One cycle of my life was over
and in my 28th year I was ready
for the new cycle. Beginning my
new chapter on that island, the
tiny spot in the middle of the sea,
ignited many questions within
about the Self, the ‘I’ and desire to
learn meditation and yoga.
My days were filled with reading of spiritual literature,
search for texts on yoga and meditation and practice of
meditation. One day by the sea, the brightness of the sea
and sound of the waves, I read one line of the Yoga Sutras
(1:2) Yogaschitta vritti nirodhah – “To block the patterns of
consciousness is yoga.” Those words went deep inside me.
Until that day my understanding of yoga was limited mainly
to hatha yoga and asanas. That scripture, the commentaries
and verses went deep into my self and awoke a strong urge for
self-enquiry and self-discovery. The comparison of the restless
mind with the sea, the description of the waves and the clear
bottom of the sea, made a powerful impact on me, and I could
not leave the book for quite some time.
I went to yoga and visual meditation classes. I realized that
yoga was my path. The feeling of deep inner contentment,
happiness and fulfilment after doing asanas, pranayamas
or reading yogic literature, was unique and unknown to me
before. That was love.
One day I found the book Prana Pranayama Prana Vidya
of Swami Niranjanananda. On the cover page was a photo of
Swami Niranjan and my eyes stayed fixed on it. That was the
moment of recognition of my guru.

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Soon I discovered the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha
and the following months I dedicated myself to the practices
and study of the techniques. Apart from that, mantras became
my focus of interest, as well as study of other yogic scriptures
and singing kirtans.
After a few years I returned to Serbia where I joined the Bihar
School of Yoga group. In 2006 I met my guru for the first time and
received initiation. Today I do my sadhana regularly along with
my duties towards my family and work. I try to maintain the
feeling of peace and inner contentment that develops through
the sadhana in all my day-to-day activities.
The feeling of love that karma, bhakti and hatha yoga
generate in me are priceless experiences I have in this life as a
yoga disciple.
Hari Om Tat Sat

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Satsang on Heart Disease
Swami Satyananda Saraswati

What is the yogic approach to cardiac patients and to heart


disorders?
Well, the yogic management of the diseased heart is slightly
different from that devised by the medical scientists, but in my
experience, both systems can be used in conjunction for the
patient’s benefit. As you know, many yoga experts in India
have appeared publicly from time to time and stopped the heart
completely for some minutes, hours or even for many days.
In earlier times, people either witnessed these events or
believed in them, but in recent years, such feats as burial
underground followed by resurrection have been carried
out in the presence of physiologists and cardiac physicians,
using laboratory monitoring equipment, and the results have
been validated scientifically and widely publicized in medical
journals and newspapers in India and other countries.
The clinical definition of death is stoppage of the heart for
three minutes or more and a death certificate is issued on that

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basis. But these experiments on yogis have shown conclusively
that the human heart can be voluntarily stopped and then
induced to function again after more prolonged time periods,
as a result of yogic training.
How is this relevant for cardiac patients? In the first place,
it leads to the conclusion that the heart is not an independent
organ failing of its own accord, and that heart disease is an
effect or result of an imbalance or loss of control occurring
elsewhere. Where then does heart disease originate from?
Surely, it is in the brain, where specific vasomotor centers have
been isolated which control the rate, intensity and regularity
of the coronary impulses. Therefore if someone is suffering
from cardiac arrhythmia (uncontrolled, irregular heart beat),
angina (pain due to cardiac insufficiency) or a slow failing
heart, we should really say that he has some malfunction in the
coronary control centres of the brain, rather than something
fundamentally and irreversibly wrong with the heart itself.
The most important factor leading to derangement in the
coronary impulses emerging from the brain is a prolonged,
excessive build up of anxiety and emotional conflict arising
in domestic, marital or employment situations, coupled with
a high level of subconscious intra-psychic stress arising from
deeper unresolved and suppressed conflicts and memories
from childhood and early life experiences. These cause fear
and insecurity whenever they bubble up to the surface of the
mind. When deep feelings of anger, competitiveness, jealousy,
aggression, rejection and so on are not vented but are denied
expression and suppressed back within the mind, the cardiac
impulse becomes unsteady. This occurs when the tension
and strain relayed down to the heart as an excessive level of
sympathetic nervous activity. As a result, the heart strains
and labours excessively, and heart strain and failure is the
end result. Therefore, our mental and emotional metabolism
is directly reflected in the performance of our hearts, and this
is why in yogic therapy we approach the problem here at its
roots, whereas medical science, which focuses more upon the

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heart itself, relies on long term drug therapy to bolster up the
failing heart mechanism, with little reference to the underlying
causes on the mental and emotional planes.
If a yogi can stop and restart the heart through specific
psychophysiological training, then surely a cardiac sufferer
can learn to recognize and gain control over the anxiety
generating mental patterns which are constantly throwing his
own heart mechanisms into revolt and disarray. We have found
that lasting cardiac relief cannot be gained while the load of
environmental and intra-psychic stress remain suppress and
unresolved.
Approaching heart disease in this way, we follow a yogic
treatment program which has proved tremendously effective
for cardiac patients, and a new awareness of his situation soon
emerges. He begins to recognize and understand his problem
more objectively, in the light of this relaxation, as confidence
in his ability to relax his mind is gained. By going beyond the
constructive confines of his mental anguish into a refreshing
realm of relaxation, a new, more joyful person begins to emerge
spontaneously, confident of his abilities to live. He no longer
feels confined in an impossible predicament in which he is
estranged from his own failing heart, but sees that the root
cause is his own thinking, and that he possesses the power to
heal his own heart and mind through yoga.

Can you tell us briefly the yoga practices you use?


Yes, of course. First and foremost are the practices of yogic
relaxation, but they must be administered by a skilled yoga
therapist. This is because it is the whole concept of relaxation
through yoga which must be conveyed to the sufferer, who
is often completely beset by fears about his heart, his family,
business and so many other things. It is an experience which
has to be conveyed and then mastered by the sufferer himself
so that he can confidently short-circuit the enormous load of
anxiety he carries with him, and enter into a more relaxed
state of being. In some countries, yoga teachers prescribe yoga

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nidra and pranayama, while strictly avoiding asana, but in
our Indian ashrams the approach is not like that. We prefer
to teach these patients more dynamic methods of relaxation.
Yoga nidra is a wonderful relaxation practice, but it is a
passive one. We prefer the practice of nada yoga, where you are
aware of the mantra or sound and just that. You concentrate on
the sound, tracing it to its source. As you know, sound vibration
has a very powerful influence upon the mind, because it is
appreciated and understood or purely on an intuitive, feeling
level, without any intellectual analysis. In fact, it effectively
renders the intellect incapable of its normal operation, and in
a fearful, neurotic and tense mind this brings an instant release
of tension which is soothing, relaxing and totally absorbing.
Different mantras have different effects on the mind and the
psychic centres, including the heart, and there is a whole
science which can be applied very effectively.
Nada yoga can be practised from shavasana, and the
musical scales of a harmonium can be used. The patient just
lies down quietly, free of all restrictions, such as shoes, tie,
tight belt, etc; with lightly closed eyes and mouth. The legs
of the patient should be a little elevated, so as to promote the
return of the circulating blood to the heart. In this way the
deepest experience of physical, mental, emotional and cardiac
relaxation is experienced. An alternative is for the instructor
to chant the mantra Om, asking the patient to let go of all
preconceptions and ideas and just follow the sound, absorbing
himself within the vibration.
I have said that we do not teach pranayama, but I should
qualify this. We do not teach conventional pranayama,
but we definitely make use
of the breath as a vehicle of
relaxation. Our approach is
that there is never any question
of straining, withholding or
resisting the breath. Rather, the
patient learns to make friends BSY ©

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with the spontaneous inflowing and out-flowing breath, but
makes no effort to control it in any way. He only witnesses
it effortlessly, and gradually he chooses as his best vantage
point the navel, which rises and falls spontaneously with the
breathing cycle. No strain should be generated, but navel
awareness grows gradually. This is found to automatically alter
the filling patterns of the lobes of the lungs and the chambers
of the heart, and respiration becomes deeper and more efficient
spontaneously. The heart rate slows and the cardio-respiratory
efficiency increases automatically. This is a vital step for many
anxious cardiac patients, firstly because they are often fast,
shallow breathers, unconsciously confining the breath to the
chest cavity, in parallel with their cardiac anxiety. This practice
effectively unties the physiological, psychological and psychic
knot in the heart region, where it has often been confined for
many anxious years. Again, great relief is experienced.
Another practice we use is known as bhramari. This is both
a pranayama and a practice of nada yoga which is practiced in
a sitting position. In the scriptures, the heart centre is termed
‘the centre of unstruck sound’ and also as ‘the cave of the bees’.
In bhramari pranayama the humming sound of the bees is
produced and traced towards its source. This produces deep
mental and emotional relaxation and is extremely effective in
cardiac disorders and in other diseases characterized by a high
level of mental tension, such as epilepsy and asthma. However,
it must be learned correctly, because the whole process is very
subtle. It is a process of inner absorption into the humming
sound, which is produced with very gentle exhalation. The
practice must take place effortlessly, without any strain to
prolong the vibration unduly, or to make it loud. It should be
spontaneous and it can be very soft. It is essentially an internal
sound, and when the ears are blocked with the fingers, the
patient is instructed to follow the inner vibration and discover
the source.
—Printed in YOGA Vol. 19, No. 2 (February 1981)

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Yoga Changed My Life
Swami Yoga Gnana Saraswati, Bulgaria

Yoga changed my life, but firstly yoga changed me. This


happened slowly and unnoticeably. The people in my family
used to call me mimosa – a plant which when even tenderly
touched closes its leaves. I was the same – the smallest quarrel
made me suffer and close in myself. Looking at somebody
crying made me cry also. I was too sensitive and it was very
difficult to live in this world, full of pain and suffering.
I was a teenager when I started to question why there was
so much injustice, war, sickness, agony and death. I was told
that God wants it to be like this, but this answer did not satisfy
me. I found books about yoga philosophy, about the law of
karma, reincarnation and so on, and I felt that this is true.

The right path


When I found Satyananda Yoga I understood that my search
was over and I had found the right path for me. The rest was
to follow this path and not to stop the efforts.

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The first visit to an ashram was in 1988 to the Satyanand-
ashram Greece. I felt that this world of yoga is mine also. Seeing
the people with geru robes clicked something in me and I knew
that I wanted to become like these people and to belong to this
tradition. I was initiated into mantra and received a spiritual
name. My real journey in yoga began . . .
The first effect of yoga was on my mind. I became more
calm and happy, because I understood that there is no chaos
in the universe, but just cosmic laws.
The second thing was that my health improved. I stopped
being sick so often. With regular surya namaskara and
pranayama my body became more stable.
The third effect was enhancing my energy level. Besides
the hatha yoga, I think that my initiations into karma sannyasa
and later into poorna sannyasa played a very important role.
Another change happened in the attitude to my work. After
accepting the karma yoga principles, I stopped being frustrated
and blaming myself and others if something was not perfect.
This helped me so much that I would like to give thanks again
and again for this precious gift, which karma yoga gave me.
I was afraid to be open and to be hurt, but slowly yoga
practices for managing the emotions helped me to accept
myself and others as they were. Maybe my heart started to
become cleaner and to open little by little . . .
I started to see the small miracles, which happen so often,
but before I was blind to see them. After all, everything is a
miracle of the Divine power!
I felt inspired and started to share with other people the
yoga knowledge which I had received. I became a yoga teacher.
This act of sharing gave me even more fulfilment and a new
meaning to my life. I felt content with serving others through
yoga and other possible ways. This added joy and richness to
my experiences and feelings. Now I may say that I changed
very much and my life also is very different from what it was.
I have attended several courses in the ashrams of our
tradition. The most powerful impact on me was the Sannyasa

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Training Course in Munger for 6 months in 1992–1993. I
experienced the sannyasa type of life and was inspired to live
it in my life. Living in the ashram was not easy, but very useful
to understand myself, my character and my reactions. It was
a great experience.
I have been many times to India and there I met the great
yogi Paramahamsa Satyananda and received his darshan. The
meetings with him were for me unique and uplifting. I saw
him and Swami Niranjan as two people having the same spirit
and soul. How can I remain the same after such meetings! I
felt happy, my soul was singing with joy!
I would like to thank all yoga teachers and acharyas who
taught me yoga and its principles. Especially I would like
to thank my Guru, Swami Niranjanananda, who guides me
year after year and maybe life after life. I receive from him
knowledge, support, energy, example and lessons which I
cherish deeply in myself as the most precious gifts I have ever
received. When he initiated me into poorna sannyasa, I felt really
born again! From sadness to joy, from darkness to light – this
is my journey. I feel the divine presence of Guru in my life. For
me he represents goodness, strength, wisdom and truthfulness.
I thank Guruji, for allowing me to become his disciple and
sannyasin and change my life for good.

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Independent Again
Lokesh Dani, USA

My name is Lokesh Dani. I am working as an IT engineer


in Stamford, USA. This is a story of my journey from an
independent person who was reduced to a dependent person
(on the eve of the US Independence Day) and has come back to
being independent again with the blessings of God, my Guruji
Swami Atmaswarupa, my wife, family and friends.

Injury
On the bright sunny day of 4th July 2013, I decided to go
skydiving with my friends. There was a feeling of fear in my
mind, however never did I think that there could be such a
severe injury.
Everything seemed to go fine from the moment I was in the
plane to the moment of jumping in a tandem skydive, where
you are attached to somebody who is controlling your life.
I was enjoying my jump and the descent to the ground,
however, all of a sudden, I found myself on the ground with
no parachute. I landed on my hips and was detached from my
trainer. Having landed on my hips, resulted in a compression
fracture of my L1 and resulted in a complete spinal cord injury.

Surgery
In a nearby hospital I was advised to wear a plastic brace to heal
my injury without undergoing surgery. I found myself in acute
pain and was told that I would not be able to urinate and go
for bowel movements. I was trained in the hospital how to use
a catheter and suppository to empty my bladder and rectum.
On discharge from the hospital, I continued my research and
came across a doctor who advised surgery to relocate my vertebra
and put the spinal cord in its original place. Hence, I underwent
surgery on 17 September 2013. My injured vertebra was removed

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and a metal stand was placed. My spinal cord which got pinched
as a result of my injured vertebra returned to its original form. At
that time, doctors found that the nerves responsible for bowel and
bladder movement were not dead and were carrying signals. My
surgery was very intense but very successful.

Post-surgery
After six to eight months of post-surgery, I was able to walk
again with the help of a walker and there was less pain in my
legs compared to pre-surgery. The sensation in the bladder
also increased, however, I still had to use a catheter and
suppository. I continued to find different treatments for my
bladder, yet nothing was working out until I was introduced
to the world of yoga by Guruji Swami Atmaswarupa.

Yoga
My wife never gave up and would ask everyone if anyone had
come across any doctor or treatment for my case. Ultimately,
one of her friends through a relative introduced us to Swami
Atmaswarupa and his yoga centre in Jamui.
Initially, we were very apprehensive and were not very sure
if I should take the risk to go Bihar and practise yoga for my
treatment. Upon further discussion, my friend cited examples
of people with different disorders, including spinal injuries,
who received good improvement at the ashram. We decided
to go for it and prayed to God for improvement.

Journey of yoga
It was a rollercoaster ride which at the end gave me happy
news and improvement of my core issues. Let’s take a ride!

Day 1
We landed in Jamui, full of confidence and at the same time with
a lot of queries and anxiety. We were greeted by Swamiji and
everyone at the ashram. Since we reached late at night, Swamiji
advised us good rest and asked us to meet him in the morning.

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On the morning of the first day, it was good to see nature
very close in the ashram with many trees, cows and gardens.
I met Swamiji, and after the initial discussion I mentioned my
injury and all the details of the surgery and post-treatment.
My first lesson or say treatment started with the theory
on the basics of yoga which I must admit clarified a lot of my
queries: yoga is not an exercise; yoga is a natural process to
attain a healthy life. Yoga is to be done only as long as there
is a pleasant sensation. This removed the fear from my mind
that I would be asked to do a tough exercise which would hurt
my spine further.
Like everyone, I would keep asking what is the yoga for my
case. Swamiji politely answered that yoga would not just focus
on one issue but on the overall balance of ida and pingla to
achieve a healthy life. He gave a good example: in an office there
is a smell of a dead mouse; many agencies were called to get rid
of it, but each agency focused on a specific section and if they
didn’t find the mouse there, they would give up. One agency,
following the principle of yoga, first removed all sections, found
the dead mouse and then rearranged everything. Similarly, my
treatment was divided into three sections:
1. Overall body flexibility and positivity of mind;
2. Restore bowel and bladder movement;
3. Rearrange and tune up the whole body, and the bladder
and bowel to perfection.
Based on this, my treatment started with: yoga class in the
morning, theory class, yoga nidra, chanting, food at correct
times and full of protein to support yoga.

Day 2 to 5
Morning: Practice of basic yoga to relax my joints – pawanmukt-
asana 1. Each day Swamiji would appreciate that there was
an improvement as compared to the previous day which
kept my morale high. With proper breathing techniques,
I did not feel that there was something that a person with
such an injury could not do.

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Afternoon: As usual, I would have my queries as when I would
see the difference. He pleasantly answered all those queries
with his real-life examples, analogies which kept my faith
alive.
Yoga nidra: I was introduced to this amazing practice, which
was deep relaxation and at the same time it was fun as in
the process I would go for a deep sleep.
I was sometimes scared that since I slept I would miss it,
but Swamiji told me that it is all part of the practice. He
used to quote that “Don’t reject or accept any thought. Let
anything come to mind, the more you try to reject or accept
the more it would appear.” And it did work miraculously.
Chanting of mantras: I would practise every morning Maha-
mrityunjaya mantra, Gayatri mantra and the Durga mantra.
It helped me to at least connect me to that unseen power/
God/Cosmic Force for some time and made me feel as if
I was in a temple. I did not feel like a patient, which had a
deep, positive impact on my mind.

Day 6 to 14
Gradually, Swamiji took me deep into different yogasana
without any feeling that this was a yoga which could be difficult
for me. I was walking my life on two sticks: suppository and
catheter.
1. So, Swamiji took away my one stick and made my finger
that stick to support my life and I started to do moola

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shodhana. I initially felt uneasy doing it, but when I had a
good bowel movement, I would feel that at least a day had
passed without suppository.
2. Yoga nidra, chanting and different fibrous food continued.
Every day I would see progress in yoga nidra and share my
thoughts with Swamiji.
3. Once, I got used to moola shodhana, Swamiji asked me to
reduce the frequency of catherization and applied moola
shodhana for relieving urine. This would gradually or at least
for some time make me pee a little on my own without catheter.

Day 15 to 25 (life changing)


1. Gradually, I could do those asanas which the previous day
seemed impossible.
2. I could do triyak bhujangasana, marjari asana, a modified
form of udarakarshanasana, all thanks to Swamiji.
3. Once Swamiji saw that the required angle had been
achieved, he asked me to practise to pee on my own with
the help of vajroli and ashwini mudra.
I still remember that I felt my bladder being full and that
the pee would not happen and I was ready to use the catheter,
but then some drops poured on their own and I could squeeze
something very little on my own. Finally, the day came when
I did not use catheter for a whole day and use it only at night.
Now, Swamiji introduced me to this amazing kriya of
shatkarma, kunjal and neti. He felt I had enough flexibility to do
TTK (tadasana, triyak tadasana, kati chakrasana). I must admit
that the whole process of gulping water and performing TTK
after every two glasses was a bit overwhelming but at the same
time a ray of hope shone forth when bowel movement would
occur. The whole process of hatha yoga finally paid off and I
was able to relieve myself one day without moola shodhana.
With continued effort of yoga, I started to squeeze my
bladder, although I needed to practise it quite often. The
bladder which was left to rest for three years started to function
again.

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Gradually, Swamiji advised me not to use the catheter at
night and to go frequently for urination by practising vajroli.
Finally, I counted my days when I regained my bladder and
could squeeze on my own.

Summary
With the blessing of God (mantras), Swami Satyananda,
Swami Niranjanananda and under the guidance of Swami
Atmaswarupa, I came a long way to have my body function
again. I still have a long way to go to achieve perfection but I
definitely have a path laid out for it by Swamiji. Step by step
under his guidance I will climb the mountain.
I and my family have deep regards for the Bihar School of
Yoga in Munger and the yoga centre in Jamui for teaching us
and showing the light on our way to life.

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Ashram Life
From Janani, Understanding Prakriti, Swami Prembhava Saraswati

Ashram life is centred around seva


and karma yoga. Through karma yoga
one is able to purify the mind and ego
and pull oneself out of the selfish, self-
centred awareness; to become aware of
one’s place within this world and the
impact one has on it. Through karma
yoga all aspects of one’s personality
are transformed from the tamasic to the
sattwic state.
Karma yoga encourages people to
go out into the garden, to sweep leaves
and weed the flower beds burying hands deep in the soil.
Through karma yoga one learns to mix and relate with people
of all cultures, languages and beliefs. These interactions teach
the vastness and variety of Mother Earth and all her people.
There is respect and understanding for people of all walks of
life, and the selfish individualistic attitudes begin to fade away.
The science of karma yoga has to be understood not as the
yoga of action but as the yoga of rearranging the personality
for the better; not as a method of submitting to somebody’s
will, but as a method of knowing the visible and invisible
actions taking place within the personality.
—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Jnana yoga
An important and essential aspect of ashram life is jnana yoga.
Observation of one’s reactions and interactions during daily
seva and karma yoga is one aspect of jnana yoga. The ashram
routine and allocated seva allow one to constantly observe

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oneself and find ways to improve. In ashram life, due to
personal likes and dislikes situations arise that one normally
does not face in daily life. However, in the ashram, rather
than running away from the situation, one is encouraged to
observe oneself, take responsibility for the part in the problem
and improve it, instead of blaming others and expecting the
world to change. This is an important training for harmony
and balance in everyone’s life.
Mouna, silence, from 6 pm to 6 am and during meal times,
allows a time for people to observe themselves, observe their
mind and its reactions. Mouna creates an environment of peace
and tranquillity, a change from the constant chatter and noise
pollution of the human species.
True jnana yoga is realizing how to apply the wisdom,
how to use the understanding to create a better you and
a better world in which there is harmony and union with
the cosmic and the inner powers.
—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

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Ashram Academics
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Can an academic institution be run in an ashram environment?


The answer to this question depends on your point of view.
From time immemorial the ashram has been a place of learning,
providing an opportunity to live in an environment which is
conducive to the development of the faculties inherent in our
personality. In this process of development, we have to learn
how to face our nature, our personality, our mentality, so that
we can transform them and experience a better quality of life.

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The interaction between people in an ashram can sometimes
become very intense. Yet at the same time there is an aim,
a goal, which is spiritual in nature. One cannot ignore the
spiritual aspect in life. Those people who feel that spirituality
has no place in their life, in the modern context, are missing an
important point. True spirituality is considered to be balanced
and harmonious interaction between the faculties of head, heart
and hands, head representing the intellect, heart representing
the emotions and feelings, and hands representing the ability
to perform, to interact.
The process of learning, of educating ourselves to
experience this harmony of the three faculties, can be learned
and experienced in an ashram environment. The system
of modern, academic education, school, college, university
education, is job-oriented. From early childhood one is trained
to excel in a field, a system, a way of thinking, which becomes
the guideline for further social interactions in life. From the
beginning we decide what we wish to become in life – a
doctor, a scientist, a historian, a social worker – and keeping
that aim in mind we go through a process of learning which
is job-oriented.
Spiritual education or yogic education is not job-oriented, it
is self-oriented, discipline-oriented. The most famous statement
on this subject is the first sutra of Patanjali – Athah yoga
anushasanam, ‘shasan’ meaning ‘to govern, to rule, to control, to
guide’, ‘anu’ meaning the subtle nature. This sentence means
that yoga is a process of guiding, directing, ruling, governing
and controlling the subtle nature. This process can only happen
if one is aware of what is happening to oneself, and when one
is able to wilfully direct the mental energies to manifest in a
creative way. This wilful direction comes through discipline.
Discipline is not something that is imposed. It is awareness of
and living according to the underlying principle of harmony.
That is true discipline.
When an ashram becomes an academic institute of
learning, this is what we try to give. Everyone comes to an

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ashram with their beliefs, idiosyncrasies and preconceived
ideas. My rule is, before you enter the ashram, leave behind
your preconceived ideas. If you can come with an open mind,
without expectations, with an attitude to learn and not to
criticize, with a desire to be positive and not to indulge in
negativity, then the ashram can become an important centre
for the growth of human personality. It is our duty to present
this concept of ashram academics to society.
When you come with preconceived notions about how
things have to be, you are blocking out your own learning
experience, and such people have no place in an ashram
environment. The ashram has to be viewed from a perspective,
from an angle, in which you try to imbibe the different aspects
and manifestations of your own nature, and with awareness,
determination, regularity and continuity, experience the
growth of your own life.
I do not see why an academic institution cannot be run
in an ashram environment. If you want my personal view,
I would say that an academic institution should only run in
an ashram environment, and that all the schools, colleges
and universities must become ashrams, so the social, moral,
spiritual and practical values of life can be imbibed in one go!
—February 1996, Ganga Darshan, Munger,
printed in YOGA Vol. 7, Issue 3 (May 1996)

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Sadhana of Swadhyaya
From Yoga Sadhana Panorama, Volume Six, Swami Niranjanananda
Saraswati

Sattwa is living spiritual awareness.


Sri Swamiji has stated that the
destiny of human life is spiritual
awareness. Spiritual awareness is the
outcome of a developed, integrated
nature. This is what yoga has to
mean for us, a process by which
we can cultivate our own qualities.
Therefore, in meditation the aim
should not be higher experience, but
the development of inner qualities.
We find this in the teachings of
Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivananda
says that the expression of human qualities begins with serenity,
and we are far from serenity in our lives. Situations disturb us.
Events and circumstances can disturb us. Relationships and
communication can disturb us. The selfish nature becomes
disturbed. We lose touch with reality and identify more deeply
with selfish qualities. We identify with loss and when we act
to replace our sense of loss, our selfish nature again becomes
stronger.
Tamas and rajas are the conditions of our life. Spiritual
awareness can be experienced when sattwa expresses itself.
Yoga is the movement from the tamasic nature to the sattwic
nature. If we are living in a closed, tamasic environment with
high expectations of greater visions, we live in a world of our
own created imaginations and fantasies. We feel that we are
becoming sattwic because of our fantasies. This fantasy can
be shattered when you observe your patterns of behaviour.
Hatred, greed, jealousy and anxiety remain. Many people

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have been practising meditation for twenty or thirty years,
but they have remained in their tamasic shell. Has anybody
become sattwic, even one percent or two percent, despite the
involvement with yoga?
We have to move from the tamasic state of life into the
sattwic state. With the attainment of the sattwic nature, we live
spiritual awareness. From the sattwic nature we move to a state
of consciousness where we become one with the creation and
the creator. We become the medium for the expression of higher
energy. Even now the cosmic energy is expressing through us,
but we are not aware of it. We think that according to astrology
and palmistry we will live for eighty or ninety years.
When we sleep at night, we die. Sleep is an experience of
death. How do you know that in sleep the spirit doesn’t leave
the body? Yet it is that divine energy which regulates that
pattern of living to death, from living to sleeping and back to
living. Many different events happen in our body, mind and
emotions which reflect and confirm the existence of a higher
life-force directing the life processes. In the same manner, when
one develops an awareness of this cosmic force directing the
expressions and behaviours in life, one becomes realized.
Yoga has to be seen from a different perspective. First follow
the aims set by yoga for your development. Secondly, use yoga
to develop the faculties of head, heart and hands to acquire
excellence in life. Thirdly, understand yoga as a journey from
the tamasic state of existence to the sattwic state of existence,
from conditioned to luminous. If we are able to understand
these three, yoga becomes a sadhana of life. Yoga is the sadhana
of swadhyaya. Not the sadhana of asana, or meditation, but
the sadhana of swadhyaya, knowing the self.

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Dharma
From All About Hinduism, Swami Sivananda Saraswati

No language is perfect. There


is no proper equivalent word
in English for the Sanskrit term
dharma. It is very difficult to
define dharma.
Dharma is generally defined
as ‘righteousness’ or ‘duty.’
Dharma is the principle of right-
eousness. It is the principle of
holiness. It is also the principle
of unity. Bhishma says in his
instructions to Yudhishthira
that whatever creates conflict is
adharma, and whatever puts an
end to conflict and brings about
unity and harmony is dharma.
Anything that helps to unite
all and develop pure divine
love and universal brother-
hood is dharma. Anything that
creates discord, split and dis-
harmony and foments hatred,
is adharma. Dharma is the
cementer and sustainer of social life.
The rules of dharma have been laid down for regulating
the worldly affairs of men. Dharma brings as its consequence
happiness, both in this world and in the next. Dharma is the
means of preserving one’s self. If you transgress it, it will
kill you. If you protect it, it will protect you. It is your sole
companion after death. It is the sole refuge of humanity.

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Trying to define
That which elevates one is dharma. This is another definition.
Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection
and glory. Dharma is that which helps you to have direct
communion with the Lord. Dharma is that which makes you
divine. Dharma is the ascending stairway unto God.
Self-realization is the highest dharma. Dharma is the heart
of Hindu ethics. God is the centre of dharma. Dharma means
achara or the regulation of daily life. Achara is the supreme
dharma. It is the basis of tapas or austerity. It leads to wealth,
beauty, longevity and continuity of lineage. Evil conduct and
immorality will lead to ill fame, sorrow, disease and premature
death. Dharma has its root in morality and the controller of
dharma is God Himself.
Maharshi Jaimini defines dharma as that which is enjoined
by the Vedas and is not ultimately productive of suffering. Rishi
Kanada, founder of the Vaiseshika system of philosophy, has
given the best definition of dharma, in his Vaiseshika Sutras:
Yato bhyudayanihsreyasa
siddhih sa dharmah.
That which leads to the
attainment of abhyudaya
(prosperity in this world)
and nihsreyasa (total cessa-
tion of pain and attainment
of eternal bliss hereafter) is
dharma.
The four Vedas, the smriti
texts, the behaviour of those who
have entered into their spirit and
act according to their injunctions,
the conduct of holy men and the
satisfaction of one’s own self –
these are the bases of dharma,
according to Manu.

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In the matter of dharma, the
Vedas are the ultimate authority.
You cannot know the truth about
dharma through any source of
knowledge other than the Vedas.
Reason cannot be the authority in
the matter of dharma. Among the
scriptures of the world, the Vedas
are the oldest. This is supported
by all leading scholars and
antiquarians of the entire civilized
world. They all declare with one
voice, that of all books so far
written in any human language,
the Rig Veda Samhita is undoubtedly the oldest. No antiquarian
has been able to fix the date when the Rig Veda Samhita was
composed or came to light.

The changing dharma


Just as a doctor prescribes different medicines for different
people according to their constitution and the nature of their
disease, so also Hinduism prescribes different duties for
different people. Rules for women are different from the rules
for men. The rules for different varnas and ashramas vary.
However, non-violence, truth, non-stealing, cleanliness and
control of the senses, are the duties common to all men.
Dharma depends upon time, circumstances, age, degree
of evolution and the community to which one belongs. The
dharma of this century is different from that of the tenth
century.
There are conditions under which dharma may change its
usual course. Aapad dharma is such a deviation from the usual
practice. This is allowed only in times of extreme distress or
calamity.
What is dharma in one set of circumstances becomes
adharma in another set of circumstances. That is the reason

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why it is said that the secret of dharma is extremely profound
and subtle. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita (16:24):
Tasmaachchhaastram pramaanam te kaaryaakaaryavyavasthitau;
Jnaatvaa shaastravidhaanoktam karma kartumihaarhasi.
Let the scriptures be the authority in determining what
ought to be done and ought not to be done. Knowing
these rules and regulations, one should act here in this
world accordingly and be elevated gradually.

The truth of dharma lies hidden. Shrutis and smritis are many. The
way of dharma open to all is that which a great realized soul has
traversed.
Women can discriminate between right and wrong, true and
false, between dharma and adharma. That is their nature. It is due
to their influence that dharma is still in existence.
—Swami Satyananda Saraswati
***
Dharma is the bonding factor of everything in creation.
—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

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Sanatana Dharma
From Glimpses of the Divine III, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

There have been two traditions in the


Indian civilization. The ancient one,
is known as the sanatana tradition,
the sanatana dharma, the eternal
dharma of humanity. It is the most
ancient of the spiritual traditions of
the world, and the foundation of the
yogic tradition as well. The other is
identified as the yuga dharma, or the
dharma which belongs to a particular
age and time and then it is revised,
altered and changed. Under this come
the different systems of belief which
are identified as different schools of thought of Hinduism, such
as Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Buddhism, Jainism, and
so on. They are all considered different sects.

The vedic lifestyle


In the age of the avataras in Satya Yuga, in the age of Rama in
Treta Yuga, in the age of Krishna in Dwapara Yuga, and at the
beginning of Kali Yuga, there was only one idea of spirituality.
That idea was being good and virtuous, and following all the
dharmas in life, fulfilling all the obligations and commitments
in life. That was the life that people lived, without adhering to
any specific form of belief.
This lifestyle developed into what is known as the vedic
lifestyle in this part of the world. The vedic culture did not
propagate worship of one, did not identify one omnipotent
God as the main figurehead of humanity. Rather, it appreciated
the presence of life in every aspect of creation. Just as life is
present in your body, in the same manner life is present in

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plants, in minerals, in nature. The greenness of the leaves
indicates the life of the leaf. The taste of water represents the
life in water. The heat of fire represents the life in fire. The
sentience in you represents the life in you. In this manner, the
ancient seers experienced life in every aspect of creation. For
them, no aspect of creation was to be neglected, not even the
dirt from the broom, as it was part of nature. There was respect
for everything and everyone around. There was cooperation
with everything and everyone. Everybody worked as one
unit to achieve the aspirations of their life, which was the
experience of luminosity and peace, prakashatva and shanti.
Prakashatva, luminosity, is the sattwa nature, and shanti is
peace from the turmoil of the environment in life. These were
the two aspirations of human civilization in the early days.

All the efforts that were made were to improve one’s


lifestyle by cultivating the good, the beautiful, the auspicious
and the pleasant, and eradicating the evil, the restrictive and the
destructive. That is how people lived in the past. This culture
was a spiritual culture. It was not a material culture. There was
an awareness of one’s own aspirations in life. There was an

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awareness that ‘I need to discover my peace and luminosity’
and everybody worked for that. Just as today people work for
finance and other resources to survive, in those days people
used to work for discovering purity and peace in life. That is
sanatana dharma, the eternal dharma that people in this part
of the world have followed.

Yoga as part of sanatana dharma


If someone says to you that yoga is part of the Hindu religion,
please say to them, “Sorry sir, you are wrong. You are slightly
deviated from the facts. Yoga is not part of Hinduism. Yoga is
part of sanatana dharma.” Sanatana dharma is what allows the
opening of the human faculties, the development and expression
of the human qualities, which is also the basis of yoga.
Swami Sivananda also said that integration of the faculties
of head, heart and hands is yoga. He did not say that attainment
of God is yoga. He said that integration of the faculties of head,
heart and hands is yoga. Anything that happens after that is
a bonus. If you are able to meditate, it is a bonus. If you are
able to become quiet and peaceful, it is a bonus. If you are able
to become creative, it is a bonus. What you need to do is to
cultivate the faculties of head, heart and hands.
A blind man may desire to see the sun, yet it is only a desire.
Similarly, you want to be realized, it is only your desire. That
is not your need. The need of the blind person is to acquire
eyesight, not to see the sun. Once the blind person acquires the
eyesight, he can look at the entire creation, not only the sun.
In the same manner, your need is not self-realization. That is
only an ambition, an idea, a thought. Your need is to improve
the life which you are living for the seventy or eighty years
that you are here. This improvement can take place with the
cultivation of the faculties of the intellect, of emotions, and of
performance. When they become positive and pious, then you
are living the sanatana dharma.
With positivity in your life, your spiritual growth takes
place sequentially, systematically and progressively. This is the

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sanatana culture which speaks of connecting with the goodness
within and the goodness all around. This culture was lived by
the rishis and yogis of the ancient days. They have inspired
the spiritual tradition with the purpose of again experiencing,
reviving and realizing the sanatana culture in our life. You
can belong to any religious denomination, but you can still
experience the sanatana dharma awakening within you, for
that is a qualitative and transformative process to discover your
own strengths and abilities which are creative and uplifting.

Working on twofold purification


What is of utmost importance in any spiritual effort is attainment
of purity. This purity is twofold: external and internal. The vedic
and yogic traditions speak of two shuddhis, bahya and antar.
External purity relates to the body, environment, household.
Internal purity is of thoughts, emotions and psyche. There is
the external purification connected to the body, attaining a
balance between the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha, wind,
bile and mucus. When these three are disturbed then the body
experiences disease; the ease of the body is disturbed.
Then there is purification relating to the environment where
you are, the place where you live should be clean, properly
ventilated and hygienic. You see this in the ashram. It is clean
because we follow the niyama of yoga, the yogic discipline
of shuchi. Cleanliness of the body and the environment is of
utmost importance and the first stage of purification.

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The second stage of purification is
internal. This relates to removal of the
masks that are put on the mind and
the spirit, which are known as vikaras.

Establishment of dharma
According to mythology, Narayana
comes down from time to time to
establish dharma. This dharma is not
morality, ethics, ritual, or faith and
belief in God. Dharma is attainment
of purity and removal of vikara. For
that, God has to appear as an avatara
from time to time. The purpose of
establishing dharma is to remove the
distortions that exist in a personality,
in society, in the environment. The distortions, vikaras, at all
these levels are removed when you practise dharma. The vikaras
in thought create negative thinking, vikaras in behaviour create
negative action and behaviour harming other people.
Narayana or Vishnu comes to remove these vikaras from
society, from individual life, from family life, from social life,
from national life, from global life. That is the purpose of an
avatara. The purpose of an avatara is not to come and destroy
people. The purpose of an avatara is to remove the vikaras
that have formed in the minds of people, that have formed
over intentions, over dharma and nyaya, the appropriate and
the just. When these vikaras are eliminated, dharma is again
established. Therefore, the elimination of vikaras is known
as elimination of evil tendencies. With the removal of evil
tendencies, happiness comes into society. People become
happy, and follow the path of natural justice. Sanatana dharma
is the path of discovering the natural dharma and natural nyaya
which uplift an individual in all dimensions.
—11 September 2015, Paduka Darshan, Munger

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YOGA AND YOGAVIDYA PRASAD
In 2013 Bihar School of Yoga celebrated its Golden Jubilee,
which culminated in the World Yoga Convention in October
of 2013. This historic event marked the successful completion
of 50 years of service, dedicated to the one mandate, to
take yoga from shore to shore and door to door. Achieved
over a 50-year period with the help of yoga aspirants and
well-wishers all over the world, a yogic renaissance has
taken place.
The World Yoga Convention also heralded the beginning
of the second chapter of Bihar School of Yoga. The hallmark
of this second chapter is a new vision, which serves to both
revive and uphold the yoga vidya in the tradition of Swami
Sivananda and Swami Satyananda for the benefit of future
generations.
As one of the aspirations of the second chapter, Bihar
School of Yoga is offering the YOGA and YOGAVIDYA
magazines as prasad with the blessings and good wishes of
the spiritual parampara. As society moves into the digital era,
to facilitate the dissemination of yoga vidya, both YOGA and
YOGAVIDYA are available as a downloadable pdf copy and
also as a free app for both Android and IOS users.
To access YOGA online:
http://www.biharyoga.net/bihar-school-of-yoga/yoga-
magazines/
To access YOGAVIDYA online:
http://www.biharyoga.net/bihar-school-of-yoga/yogavidya/
For IOS users both the YOGA and YOGAVIDYA magazines
available as downloadable app:https://itunes.apple.com/us/
developer/bihar-school-of-yoga/id1134424786
For Android users the YOGA magazines are available as
downloadable app:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.
biharyoga.yogapeeth.app.emag.android.yoga
For Android users the YOGAVIDYA magazines are available
as downloadable app:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.
biharyoga.yogapeeth.app.emag.android.yogavidya
To access the online encyclopaedia of YOGA and search
the archive:
http://www.yogamag.net/archives.shtml

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• Registered with the Department of Post, India issn 0972-5717
Under No. MGR–02/2017
Office of posting: Ganga Darshan TSO bar code
Date of posting: 1st–7th of every month
• Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers, India
Under No. BIHENG/2002/6305

Yoga Peeth Events & Yoga Vidya Training 2019


Feb 6–8 Sri Yantra Aradhana
Feb 4–May 26 Yogic Studies, 4 months (Hindi)
Feb 9 Basant Panchami Celebrations/Bihar School of Yoga
Foundation Day
Feb 14 Bal Yoga Diwas, Children’s Yoga Day
Feb 18–24 Yoga Capsule – Respiratory (Hindi)
Feb 18–24 Yoga Capsule – Arthritis & Rheumatism (Hindi)
Mar 1–30 Yoga Training, 1 month; (Hindi, for nationals)
Mar 9–17 Total Health Capsule (Hindi)
Mar 11–17 Yoga Capsule – Digestive (Hindi)
April 2–6 Yoga Lifestyle Capsule (Hindi/English)
April 22–28 Hatha Yoga Yatra 1, 2
May 13–19 Hatha Yoga Yatra 3, 4
Jun 2–6 Yoga Lifestyle Capsule (Hindi/English)
Aug 16–22 Raja Yoga Yatra 1, 2
Aug 23–29 Raja Yoga Yatra 3, 4
Oct 1–30 Progressive Yoga Vidya Training 1, 2 (English)
Oct 1–Jan 25 Yogic Studies, 4 months (English)
Nov 4–10 Kriya Yoga Yatra 1, 2
Nov 11–17 Kriya Yoga Yatra 3
Dec 18–22 Yoga Chakra Series
Dec 25 Swami Satyananda’s Birthday
Every Saturday Mahamrityunjaya Havan
Every Ekadashi Bhagavad Gita Path
Every Poornima Sundarkand Path
Every 4th, 5th & 6th Guru Bhakti Yoga
Every 12th Akhanda Path of Ramacharitamanas

Please be aware that mobile phones are NOT permitted in the ashram.
Ensure that you do not bring your mobile with you.

For more information


f on the
h above
b events contact:
Bihar School of Yoga, Ganga Darshan, Fort, Munger, Bihar 811201, India
Tel: +91-06344-222430, 06344-228603, Fax: +91-06344-220169
Website: www.biharyoga.net
- A self-addressed, stamped envelope must be sent along with enquiries to ensure a response to
your request

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